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Fuel drives up transport costs

The prices that businesses pay for petrol and diesel rose 6.9 percent and 7.0 percent, respectively, in the September 2018 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

This made the latest quarter the fourth in a row with rising fuel costs. Other petroleum products such as aviation fuel and lubricating oils also rose this quarter (up 3.7 percent).

Petrol and diesel costs for businesses rose 22.5 percent and 37.8 percent, respectively, in the year to September 2018. Other petroleum products rose 14.3 percent for the year. Fuel is a major contributor to the costs that businesses pay to produce their goods and services.

Both input and output prices (up 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively) for businesses showed relatively strong increases in the September 2018 quarter. While a wider or narrower gap between input and output prices affects business profitability, volumes are also a factor.

The transport, postal, and warehousing industry had a 3.1 percent increase in input costs in the latest quarter, affected by the fuel increases. The increase flowed through to customers – output prices these businesses charged for their services rose 2.9 percent this quarter. For postal businesses, maintaining profitability in the face of decreasing mail volumes contributed to this industry’s rise in output prices.

Consumers price index: September 2018 quarter reported transport and petrol increases of 2.4 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.

Electronic card transactions: September 2018 showed a seasonally adjusted rise of $65 million across the retail fuel industry over the September 2018 quarter.

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